Saturday, March 12, 2022

US Consulate in Erbil condemns murders of women on Friday and is attacked on Saturday -- a detail the western press misses

The wing of the war industry known as ''the press'' is actually focused on Iraq for a moment or two.  THE GUARDIAN tells you, "As many as 12 ballistic missiles have struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital Erbil, with some reports suggesting several landed near the US consulate building."   all it took for them to off and rubbing -- stroke their cocks, stroke their clits, they all plan to get there and get off on the events that horrifiy normal people.  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes, "No injuries were reported. Officials in Iraq and the U.S. gave different accounts of the strike and the damage it caused. A second U.S. official said there was no damage at any U.S. government facility and that there was no indication the target was the consulate building, which is new and currently unoccupied."  MIDDLE EAST EYE adds, "Erbil is the site of bases that host US forces."  DW notes that the US State Dept has termed the attak "outrageous."  Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) provides this context, "This is the first attack on US missions in the Kurdistan Region this year. Previous attacks were blamed on Iranian-backed Iraqi militias who have demanded that United States forces withdraw from Iraq."

The missiles were launched from the "east outside Iraq's borders" towards a new United States consulate building and residential areas, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government. The attack damaged buildings and homes and one person was "lightly wounded," the statement said.
Iran borders Iraq to its east, though the statement did not name the country. There was no immediate information on claims of responsibility for the attack.

    Initial reports shared on social media had claimed the missiles may have struck the US consulate building, but Lawk Ghafuri, press spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said Sunday that only areas around the compound were hit. 

    The station of local news channel Kurdistan 24 was also damaged in the attack. A photo posted to Twitter by Barzan Sadiq, one of the station's reporters, depicted fallen debris on the studio floor."  Patrick Reilly (NEW YORK POST) also notes kURDISTAN 24, "Satellite television station Kurdistan24, which is located near the US consulate, went live from the studio shortly after the attack, showing shattered glass and debris strewn across the studio floor."

    The management of Kurdistan 24 said in a public statement that the attack caused the channel to stop its broadcasts for a few minutes. “We will assure the audience and viewers that we will continue to work and continue our national message.”

    “We will continue broadcasting and spreading the truth despite substantial damage to our equipment.”

    “From here, we thank all the parties and parties that have asked for the safety of the Kurdistan Staff 24, whether by sending the message or visiting us.”

    Kurdistan Region Health Minister Saman Barzinji visited the Kurdistan 24 channel in a solidarity visit after the attack.

    Nawzad Hadi, adviser to the president of Kurdistan Region, visited Kurdistan 24 and condemned the attack.

    "There are a multitude of potential reasons (for the Erbil attack), but the most likely is that the Iranians see Erbil as a hub for its opponents in the region to plan and conduct attacks against Iran and its interests," Nicholas Heras, deputy director of the Human Security Unit at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, told Kurdistan 24.

    The US Consulate General in Erbil expressed its concern regarding the recent surge of domestic violence and femicide in the Kurdistan Region on Friday, stressing that culprits must be brought to justice.

    Eman Sami Maghdid, 20, was shot dead on Erbil’s 100 metes road late Sunday. Her death followed a number of similar cases in the Kurdistan Region. Kirkuk police arrested the suspected murderer of the Kurdish woman on Wednesday. 

    “So-called “#honor_killings” like the recent murders of Eman “Maria” Sami Maghdeed, Maryam Yacoob, and Aydi Muhammed must be investigated and followed by a legal response, with the perpetrators held responsible,” said the US Consulate in a statement

    The Consulate in their statement urged the Kurdistan Regional Government to continue taking meaningful action towards ending all violation of the rights of women and other marginalized communities, while also stating: “we stand ready to assist.”



    Warrior Class, Episode 32: Sticks, the perfect weapon for self defense?

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    Max Blumenthal EXPOSES Ro Khanna


    NEWS . . . Michigan Greens Announce Opening of "Recognized Candidates" List

     Ecological Wisdom      *  Social Justice

    Grassroots Democracy  *  Non-Violence


    **  News Release  **
    **  ------------  **
        March 11, 2022

    For More Information, Contact:
    Robin Laurain, Co-Chair
        (313) 815-2025

    Destiny Clayton, Communications Manager

    John Anthony La Pietra, Elections Co-ordinator Pro Tem

    Michigan Greens Announce Opening
    of "Recognized Candidates" List
    To Give Those Seeking Nominations Official Status
    While Keeping GPMI Party Organization Impartial

    Media, Interest Groups Invited to Cover Green Candidates
    As They Do Candidates Trying to Get On Fall Ballot by Primary

        Candidates who want to represent the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) on
    the November 8 ballot can now qualify to be on a formal list like the
    ones state and local governments promote for parties included in the
    August primary.

        GPMI has adopted a procedure for candidates to be recognized as seeking
    the Green nomination for their target offices until the state nominating
    convention April 23-24 (or a county caucus held sometime between now and
    the primary).

        The steps to qualify as recognized, and the benefits a candidate gets
    from becoming recognized, are posted on line at the party Website:

    As Green candidates meet these qualifications, their campaign contact
    information will be posted on a "Recognized Candidates" list at the
    site, and on GPMI social-media pages.

        GPMI believes candidates who qualify to be recognized by the party will
    be just as serious as anyone else -- and just as qualified to be
    supported by voters, covered by the media, and considered by any
    public-interest groups for their endorsement.  (However, all three
    groups should be aware that Greens do not take PAC money.)

        "To be recognized, a candidate will have to show they're ready to run a
    solid, legitimate Green campaign," notes GPMI Elections Co-ordinator Pro
    Tem John Anthony La Pietra.

        "They'll have to meet or exceed what the laws require them to do to
    register their candidate committees.  They'll answer a GPMI candidate
    questionnaire, and tell us about their backgrounds and how their views
    of the issues match up with our Ten Key Values and our platform.  And
    they'll need personal endorsements from other Michigan Greens.

        "We'll post their names and campaign contact info online to recognize
    their efforts -- and to let the people, the press, and candidate
    evaluation committees across Michigan know there's another list of
    candidates they should be finding out about."

        Recognition is not a guarantee of nomination, but brings benefits which
    may help candidates get nominated.  Some will give priority to
    recognized candidates at the state party convention -- though on an
    impartial basis, La Pietra notes.  "No rigging of the nomination process
    here!  Greens believe in Grassroots Democracy, so we make sure it's our
    participating grassroots members deciding who gets nominated -- or
    whether to nominate anyone at all."

        La Pietra says GPMI will maintain and update the list at least until
    candidates start being nominated.  The Green statewide nominating
    convention will be held April 23-24, just after the deadline for
    Democrats and Republicans to get on the primary ballot.  Others will be
    nominated, for offices serving only voters within their counties, at
    county caucuses which may be held anytime until Primary Day August 2.

        State law keeps Green candidates out of the primary.  Many interest
    groups have built their endorsement processes around the primary filing
    deadline, and seem to view candidates on the primary lists maintained by
    the Bureau of Elections and the state's 83 county clerks as the only
    real candidates.

        This is another reason GPMI is creating its own initial list of serious
    Green candidates.  La Pietra hopes interest groups and the media will
    use the list.  "We'll watch to see if the media and the public-interest
    groups take us up on this new set of candidate information we're
    offering them -- when they're already publicizing other candidates.

        "If they want to help their respective audiences cast informed ballots,
    they should jump at the chance."

        For more information about the Green Party of Michigan, its actions,
    and its 2022 platform, please visit:


    #    #    #

                    created/distributed using donated labor

    Green Party of Michigan
    PO Box 2754
    Grand Rapids, MI  49501
        (313) 815-2025

    GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan
    politics.  Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of
    Columbia.  Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own
    structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

      Ecological Wisdom
      Grassroots Democracy
      Social Justice
      Community Economics
      Respect for Diversity
      Personal/Global Responsibility
      Future Focus/Sustainability

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    Ukraine War Exposes US Hypocrisy, Double Standards & Racism, w/ Ali Abunimah & Rania Khalek

    Ukraine crisis: Why doesn't the West show the same outrage for wars in the Middle East?

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    US Bans Russian Oil, Blames Putin for Skyrocketing Prices


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    In 2022, we're once again counting down to Record Store Day along with Classic Album Sundays and Bowers & Wilkins with a series of videos that go Behind The Counter of record stores across the United States.

    One episode per week as we head towards April 23. Watch our social media for each new episode, or head to Classic Album Sundays to watch the lot! 
    Copyright © 2021 *Record Store Day*, All rights reserved.
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    The Black Commentator Mar 10, 2022 - Issue 902: Cover Story - Understanding the Russian Invasion of Ukraine


    The Black Commentator Issue #902 is now Online

    March  10, 2022


    On the Web at

    Our postal address is:
    P.O. Box 2635
    Tarpon Springs FL 34688-2635

    Sam Seder & Emma Vigeland Minimize Neo Nazi Issue In Ukraine

    Max Blumenthal: Don't Fly To The DANGER ZONE! Old Clowns Pt2 Biden VS Trump, Tulsi & Mysterious $60


    ​Is Psychiatry a Mental Illness?


    Is Psychiatry a Mental Illness?

    By David Swanson

    Bruce Levine’s books have been getting more and more thorough in their debunkings of the claims of psychiatry. His latest is A Profession Without Reason.

    Some mental illnesses that have been eliminated include drapetomania, or the mental illness causing enslaved people to try to escape; and homosexuality, or the mental illness causing people to love people that somebody else might wish they wouldn’t. These mental illnesses have been eliminated by ceasing to call them mental illnesses.

    Some mental illnesses that have been reduced by the good practices of psychiatry, although not yet thoroughly eliminated include . . . well, nothing. Mental illnesses and suicides are on the rise.

    But it’s not even clear what we’re dealing with. In studies, different psychiatrists have been as likely as not to diagnose the same patient as having or not having a mental illness, and to disagree on which mental illness if any the patient has.

    It could be that part or all of what is on the rise is simply diagnoses. But there’s no strong evidence that psychiatry is effectively treating mental illnesses in those it treats. The profession is widely and deeply funded by drug companies, and its treatments often involve drugs. But the drugs are no more effective than placebos or the passage of time, and often have negative long-term effects that simple placebos or doing nothing don’t have.

    Drugs to cure mental illnesses are sometimes based on faulty science known to be faulty. Depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance or a shortage of serotonin. Yet psychiatrists tell people that it is and prescribe drugs as if it were.

    Actual causes of depression include fear, poverty, and a lack of friends and loved ones. Socio-economic variables are more clearly associated with mental suffering than is anything bio-chemical. This is one of those well-established facts that U.S. culture has a well-established practice of avoiding — as with the similarly well-established fact that addressing socio-economic needs reduces crime more efficiently than does incarceration.

    Also more clearly associated with mental difficulties than is anything genetic is childhood trauma. But somehow we never focus on developing a society that can better care for children in the way that we do on developing drugs for mental illnesses. Similarly, preventing pollution that causes cancer is just never as big a deal as curing cancer after it’s caused. I suppose people must buy all those drugs in all those commercials with all those warnings of seemingly catastrophic side effects, yet I’ve never seen a single ad warning that prescribing an inequality of wealth beyond medieval levels could result in fascism.

    Psychiatry has a preference for claiming that things are genetically based, and for claiming that mental illnesses are permanent (but should be permanently treated). It was on this basis that, in the 20th century, the U.S. sterilized 70,000 people and Germany killed 300,000. But not long after Germany had killed most of the Germans diagnosed with schizophrenia, the prevalence of that disease in Germany was higher, not lower.

    Leading U.S. psychiatrists today, sounding much like neocons selling a war, openly claim that it is a “noble lie” to give people a false diagnosis and a false cure, because this can have a placebo effect. But there are approaches with the potential to help more than that, and these are shoved aside by all the noble lying. Meanwhile, giving people actual placebos, to avoid the side-effects of drugs that are known not to work, is deemed “unethical.” So is failing to stigmatize people with the label “mentally ill” even when there’s nothing concrete to establish to independent observers that someone is “mentally ill.”

    As Levine shows us, psychiatrists wish both to be and to not be neurologists. That is, they hope and struggle to find brain activity that corresponds to their illnesses, thus far without notable success. Yet they hope not to find solutions via neuro-surgery, as that would put them out of work. Nonetheless, they’ve moved — for both reasons of financial corruption and reasons of science envy — ever more toward drugs and other physical approaches, as opposed to recommending therapy or life changes.

    Psychiatry also resorts, of course, to coercion, to forced medication, forced institutionalization, and such barbaric still-used-today practices as electroshock (despite no evidence that it works).

    But what do we do with people who are really crazy? Who hear voices? Who are a danger to themselves and others? Well, apparently some 5% to 28% of the population hears voices. The remaining population could never lock that many people up. A proper approach needs to be specific to each case. But there seems to be greater success, in many cases, not in labeling people monsters and dealing with them accordingly, but in offering them friendship and respect despite their most fantastical delusions, and reducing their fears — something, in other words, like the polar opposite of social media. Peer groups of people with similar unusual mental states are able to aid their members without shame or stigmatization.

    But what about all the deeply ingrained stories that point toward established practice? What about John Nash whose story in “A Beautiful Mind” involved him being saved by medication? It was a lie. The reality was that he recovered despite and after getting away from forced institutionalization and medication, and that what helped him was the support of loved ones and friends. He also explained how he learned to identify unreliable thoughts, lessons that could be helpful even for people suffering to a much more limited degree — far more helpful than walling off the “ill” from the “well” as if there were no spectrum running unbroken from one to the other.

    While homosexuality is no longer an illness, there is an illness called Oppositional Defiant Disorder for people who aren’t obedient enough. There’s one called Conduct Disorder for people who do things society disapproves of. These seem to tell us more about the fears of the psychiatrists than about the patients. We live in a society that slaughters and eats non-human animals for fun, that locks millions of people behind bars for no good reason, that routinely knowingly destroys the prospects for future life on Earth, that invests in wars and nuclear weapons, and that largely believes in the claims of popular religions no less absurd than the delusions of any patient. If every nutty belief got you labeled mentally ill, who would remain among the well? If Vladimir Putin’s insane warmaking renders him impossible to negotiate with — even for people who regularly engage in insane warmaking — something’s got to go: either the entire profession of diplomacy, or the habit of labeling entire people (as opposed to a few of their beliefs or actions) crazy. Surely the change that occurs when a former U.S. client (Noriega, Gadaffi, Hussein) falls out of favor is not a medical change.

    We’ve also got a disease called Anti-Social Personality Disorder, or what’s commonly referred to as the permanent and alien malignity of “the sociopaths.” This is thought to explain much or all of what’s wrong with politics. We’ve had very progressive and caring commentators in recent years propose swift identification and sterilization of “the sociopaths” to right much of what is wrong with the political and business world — despite the complete inability to identify who the sociopaths are in any scientific way, meaning of course that they would be identified in a biased manner by the same sick society that created both the problems blamed on them and the final solution devised for them. My point is not that politicians don’t do horribly evil and cynical things miles removed from what many of us could ever imagine doing, things we have a hard time even thinking about. My points are these: you can eliminate oligarchs by taxing their wealth; you can democratize a government through mass nonviolent action; you can compel the same power-hungry politicians who do evil to do good through public pressure; and Nietzsche was right: insanity is rare in individuals but the norm in entire societies.

    We even have mental illnesses largely for victims of war (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), as well as some for people made to worry about their weight (Anorexia and Bulimia). We have Phobias for people afraid of various things. But Levine makes a case that the severity with which sufferers are treated is largely a product of the fears of those doing the diagnosing and prescribing. Or rather, not fear, but “tension.” Levine does not define “tension” but uses it as the general cause of unfair treatment. If homosexuality causes tension in the minds of some people, then they are inclined to label it an illness. I would have liked an additional chapter on how to reduce tension.

    Levine wants a major break from current psychiatric practices. He uses the term “complete” (a “complete break”) but I don’t think he can mean that. He also uses it to describe Baruch Spinoza’s break with popular religion, something that clearly was not literally complete. After reading these thoughts of mine, you might be surprised to discover that half of Levine’s book is about the 17th century philosopher Spinoza, whose thinking Levine uses to critique psychiatry, and whose experiences with prejudice and pseudo-science in his day allow for some striking comparisons to the doings of today’s psychiatrists.

    Levine is a bit more taken with the relevance of Spinoza than I, even suggesting that only Spinoza’s prejudice against women lets us know he wasn’t perfect, as if perhaps his radically outdated philosophizing doesn’t need any general updating other than that. I think, on the contrary, what’s valuable here is the fact that someone so monumentally out of step could nonetheless have many basic lessons to teach a prestigious postmodern profession.



    David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk World Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and U.S. Peace Prize Recipient.

    Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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    LIVE: BIOLABS IN UKRAINE , Sam Seder SMEARS Jackson Hinkle Over Russia Comments

    Lee Camp On The Media Attack On RT America

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    Glenn Greenwald on Nuland's Testimony About Biological Facilities In Ukraine

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    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, March 11, 2022.  The White House spin collapses due to Victoria Nuland's remarks being caught on film, as the Ukraine media narrative begins to bite the dust the 'kingmaker' Moqtada one appears to also be dead on arrival, and much more.

    Yes, Virginia, Ukraine has a US funded bio-weapons lab.

    THE CONVO COUCH has been reporting on it this week.

    And who are we to believe?  Jen Psaki who is paid to lie or Victoria Nuland on camera testifying to Congress?

    MINT PRESS NEWS is also reporting on it.

    Kevin Reed (WSWS) reports:

    The Biden administration and the corporate media are continuing to cover up the acknowledgment by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland that biological weapons laboratories have been operating in Ukraine under US direction.

    During her testimony before a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, when asked by Senator Marco Rubio (Republican of Florida), “Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?,” Nuland responded that there are “biological research facilities” in the country.

    While she did not discuss prior US government involvement in these facilities—and Senator Rubio also did not ask her about this—Nuland said that the State Department is “working with the Ukrainians on how we can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.”

    As the scripted exchange continued, Senator Rubio said reports that Russia had, “uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to unleash biological weapons in the country, and with NATO’s coordination,” were propaganda. Then Nuland went on to say that “it is a classic Russian technique to blame the other guy for what they are planning to do themselves.”

    As numerous international news outlets began reporting Nuland’s comments as confirmation that US-backed biological weapons labs did in fact exist in Ukraine as the Russians have maintained, the State Department was forced to issue a denial on Wednesday in an official statement by department spokesperson Ned Price.

    Price did not confirm or deny or even refer to the statements by Nuland. Instead, he wrote that the Kremlin is, “intentionally spreading outright lies that the United States and Ukraine are conducting chemical and biological weapons activities in Ukraine.” He called the Russian reports “disinformation,” and “total nonsense,” that had been “debunked conclusively and repeatedly over many years.”

    Price then repeated the claims made in a lengthy tweet on Wednesday by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, stating that the US, “does not own or operate any chemical or biological laboratories in Ukraine” and is in full compliance with both the Biological and Chemicals Weapons Conventions of the UN. Price also said that Russia has a “track record of accusing the West of the very crimes that Russia itself is perpetrating.” None of these assertions were backed up with substantiating facts or evidence.

    [. . .\

    It is very clear that the exposure of US-sponsored biological warfare operations in Ukraine explodes the entire narrative concocted by the Biden administration and faithfully propagandized by the corporate media that Russia is solely responsible for the present war crisis.

    Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) adds:

    Self-anointed "fact-checkers” in the U.S. corporate press have spent two weeks mocking as disinformation and a false conspiracy theory the claim that Ukraine has biological weapons labs, either alone or with U.S. support. They never presented any evidence for their ruling — how could they possibly know? and how could they prove the negative? — but nonetheless they invoked their characteristically authoritative, above-it-all tone of self-assurance and self-arrogated right to decree the truth, definitively labelling such claims false.

    Claims that Ukraine currently maintains dangerous biological weapons labs came from Russia as well as China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry this month claimed: "The US has 336 labs in 30 countries under its control, including 26 in Ukraine alone.” The Russian Foreign Ministry asserted that “Russia obtained documents proving that Ukrainian biological laboratories located near Russian borders worked on development of components of biological weapons.” Such assertions deserve the same level of skepticism as U.S. denials: namely, none of it should be believed to be true or false absent evidence. Yet U.S. fact-checkers dutifully and reflexively sided with the U.S. Government to declare such claims "disinformation” and to mock them as QAnon conspiracy theories.

    Unfortunately for this propaganda racket masquerading as neutral and high-minded fact-checking, the neocon official long in charge of U.S. policy in Ukraine testified on Monday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and strongly suggested that such claims are, at least in part, true. Yesterday afternoon, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), hoping to debunk growing claims that there are chemical weapons labs in Ukraine, smugly asked Nuland: “Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?”

    Rubio undoubtedly expected a flat denial by Nuland, thus providing further "proof” that such speculation is dastardly Fake News emanating from the Kremlin, the CCP and QAnon. Instead, Nuland did something completely uncharacteristic for her, for neocons, and for senior U.S. foreign policy officials: for some reason, she told a version of the truth. Her answer visibly stunned Rubio, who — as soon as he realized the damage she was doing to the U.S. messaging campaign by telling the truth — interrupted her and demanded that she instead affirm that if a biological attack were to occur, everyone should be “100% sure” that it was Russia who did it. Grateful for the life raft, Nuland told Rubio he was right.

    But Rubio's clean-up act came too late. When asked whether Ukraine possesses “chemical or biological weapons,” Nuland did not deny this: at all. She instead — with palpable pen-twirling discomfort and in halting speech, a glaring contrast to her normally cocky style of speaking in obfuscatory State Department officialese — acknowledged: “uh, Ukraine has, uh, biological research facilities.” Any hope to depict such "facilities” as benign or banal was immediately destroyed by the warning she quickly added: “we are now in fact quite concerned that Russian troops, Russian forces, may be seeking to, uh, gain control of [those labs], so we are working with the Ukrainiahhhns [sic] on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach” 

    For those paying attention, the official narrative just got exposed as a fraud and the whores who've pimped should be hanging their heads in shame -- but we all know that they're incapable of shame.

    Meanwhile never understimate how greedy, craven and corrupt politicians can be.  Can be and so often are.

    In related news, David Sirota Tweets:

    House Dems passed a bill to hand $52 billion to 5 tech CEOs to boost their pay, then they eliminated $15 billion of pandemic aid for millions of Americans, and now they're running off to a retreat in Philadelphia to try to figure out why most people can't stand them.

    And as Jimmy Dore said in the video above, "If you think some other country is more blood thirsty, is more imperialistic and is more of an oppressor to their people than you've been propagandized."Not everyone's walking around dazed and confused.  Tony Bramble (RED FLAG) observes:

    The US is using the opportunity created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to promote itself as a champion of national sovereignty, democracy and human rights. In his State of the Union address on 2 March, US President Joe Biden was cheered by both sides of Congress as he set out the US’s claims to higher purpose: “We fought for freedom, expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror. We built the strongest, freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known”. In relation to the invasion of Ukraine:

    “Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself ... I know this nation will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy.”

    It’s nice that large countries invading small countries is now self-evidently morally outrageous. Pity that wasn’t the case before the US launched the two largest invasions so far this century, first in Afghanistan in 2001 and then in Iraq in 2003. Just like Russia, the US is up to its elbows in the blood of its innocent victims, their lives destroyed by brutal invasions and occupations justified by lies.

    Within weeks of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the George W. Bush administration had invaded Afghanistan, despite the Taliban offering to hand over Osama bin Laden. As Biden is doing today, Bush cloaked the US mission in democratic rhetoric: “Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us”.

    Unlike the moral outrage in response to Russia’s invasion today, there was widespread support for the invasion of Afghanistan. The Democrats backed it, as did many US allies, including Australia. The media, both populist and “serious”, such as the New York Times, threw their full support behind it. Small-l liberals also backed up the propaganda. Many prominent American feminist organisations supported the war on the basis that the US could liberate Afghan women from Taliban rule.

    The invasion was overwhelmingly popular within the US, and in Australia too. The few opponents of what the White House called the “War on Terror” were accused of being terrorist sympathisers. It was left to small groups of socialists and other committed anti-imperialists to forcefully carry the arguments against the build-up to war.

    On 7 October 2001, the US Air Force conducted the first air strikes, followed by deployment of US ground troops in what the White House called “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Within weeks, the Taliban had been overthrown and its leaders killed or forced to flee to rural hideouts or neighbouring Pakistan.

    The invasion and eight-year occupation of Iraq came soon after. The White House claimed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein represented an existential threat to the world because his regime possessed weapons of mass destruction: anthrax, nerve gas and nuclear weapons. The administration also sought to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11, saying that the Iraqi president was in league with al-Qaeda. The enemy was clear, Bush argued: “States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world”.

    The media took Bush’s cue, and newspapers in the US, Europe and Australia were filled with articles calling Hussein “the new Hitler”, listing his crimes against his own people and describing in great detail the supposed threat he posed to the world. General Colin Powell, US secretary of state, argued that it was only a matter of time before Hussein used his weapons of mass destruction against the world.

    The US was much less successful in convincing the US population and the rest of the world that it was justified in invading Iraq. Claims that the US was bringing “freedom” and “democracy” to the Middle East were being increasingly exposed by the reality of the US occupation in Afghanistan.

    Jimmy Wike Mesquite writes to the editors of THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL:    

    Is it lost on everyone that the same politicians who insisted that our military invade Afghanistan and Iraq to effect regime change are now aghast at what Russia is doing to Ukraine?

    Talk about a lack of self-awareness.

    Meanwhile, at FOREIGN POICY,  Renad Mansour and Benedict Robin-D'Cruz write:

    Many observers predicted that Iraq’s elections last October would be a potential turning point in the country’s long struggle to find stability since 2003. Instead, the protracted government formation process has featured political violence against opponents, including tit-for-tat assassinations in the south, bombings of political offices and linked businesses, and even an attempt on the prime minister’s life. It has seen the judiciary weaponized to target opponents with lawsuits and disqualify candidates. Foreign powers, including Iran, have also directly intervened to prevent a change to the system of government.

    All of this suggests that change is not on the horizon for Iraq. The country is still stuck in familiar cycles of violence with no clear path out.

    Some experts have found this especially disappointing because the election results had initially hinted at change. Shiite populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr defeated his competitors by a significant margin, winning 73 seats. His rivals from the previous election, the Iran-allied Fatah Alliance, lost 31 seats and now only has 17 seats. His other rival, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition, has only 35 seats. Sadr was widely predicted to play the role of kingmaker.

    Sensing an opportunity for fundamental change, Sadrists called for an end to the consensus government system, where all parties divide the state among themselves at the expense of corruption and stagnation. Sadr instead insisted on a majoritarian government. The key was to exclude longtime rival and Iranian ally Maliki. In its own change of policy, the United States now backs Sadr, seeing his rise as an opportunity to push out Iranian influence and change Iraqi politics.

    Hey, Renad and Benedict, wlecome but the party's over.  You can come back tomorrow and clean up, just hit the lights on the way out, will ya?

    Is it a surprise?

    It's not to me.  None of this is surprising.

    I believe this is sexactly where we said the situation woul dbe.

    A lot of whores wanted to pretend that Moqtada was a king maker.  We questioned that press narrative from the beginning.  

    We stood alone in doing that.  We'll stop and rest while the rest of you struggle to catch up.  All these months later.

    There was never a reason to believe that Moqtada was a king maker.  There was never a reason to believe he was a leader.  Even his cult sees defections.  

    Maybe if outlets had told the truth, so many people wouldn't have been fooled.

    moqtada's bloc in the 2021 election?  It got more votes in the previous election.  Support was down for all existing parties (with the exception of the KDP in Kurdistan).  While the press was spinning and whoring, analytical minds rightly saw the depressed turnout for Moqtada as something worthy of exploration.  

    The elections were held October 10th.  Five months ago.  Still no president, still no prime minister.  The country's Constitution has been violated and ignored.  The already politicized court system got even more politicized.  None of thsi is good for Iraq.

    The Speaker of Parliament?  Same person it was before the election.  It's the only power position filled, by the way.  President?  The current president wants to retain his spot as does the current prime minister.

    So it is possible that Iraq could see the election results resulted in no change at all.

    What was the point of holding elections if the people the people wante removed from office just continue to hang on?

    In 2010, Joe Biden taught the Iraqi people that voting did not matter.  That's whent hey voted out Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister and when Joe Biden oversaw The Erbil Agreement that tossed the votes aside and gave Nouri that second term anyway.

    He was vice president then.  Now he's president and Irais may have another example of just how useless voting is under their current system.

    Omar Sirri and Belkis Wille  explore realities in Iraq at Human Rights Watch:

    An abusive legal complaint has been filed against a member of Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) who sought to investigate allegations of torture of detainees.

    The complaint was filed on February 3 against Dr. Ali al-Bayati, a member of Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR). Three days later, al-Bayati was interrogated by Rusafa Investigative Court personnel in Baghdad over his discussion about an investigation the IHCHR had begun into the work of Iraq’s anti-corruption committee, which Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi established two years ago.

    The legal action stems from comments al-Bayati made in an interview on Alahad Television in December 2020, that the IHCHR had received allegations some detainees arrested under orders from the anti-corruption committee had been tortured. The IHCHR sought to investigate these allegations and requested from the anti-corruption committee to interview detainees being held on charges related to the committee’s work.

    Al-Bayati said the anti-corruption committee refused the request, one that falls within the legal mandate of the IHCHR and directed the IHCHR to seek permission from the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers. Rather than grant the IHCHR’s request, the secretariat instigated the legal complaint against al-Bayati. The complaint refers to article 434 of Iraq’s penal code outlining the “insult” or imputation of another, a crime punishable by up to one year in prison.

    “It is very humiliating and painful to be a doctor and human rights defender in a democratic country, and then enter a court accused not because of a crime you committed, but instead because you defended the rights of fellow citizens and fulfilled the duties you swore to perform,” al-Bayati told Human Rights Watch.

    On March 2, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court ruled the establishment of the anti-corruption committee itself unconstitutional, stating the committee violated separation of powers articles in Iraq’s constitution.

    While the legal and political wrangling over Iraq’s anti-corruption efforts continues, the Iraqi judiciary and the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers should take immediate steps to drop this abusive complaint against Ali al-Bayati. Criticizing state authorities, or conducting human rights investigations, should not be criminal acts. They also should commit to granting the IHCHR access to all detainees alleging abuse and torture. That individuals tasked with investigating basic human rights abuses are themselves subjected to legal sanction simply for doing their work is both deeply ironic and bodes poorly for Iraqis in far more vulnerable circumstances.

    The following sites updated: